Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2013 (Revised April 2014)

Transitions Asia: Managing Across Cultures

by Roy Y.J. Chua and Dawn H. Lau

Abstract

The director of an interim executive search firm, Chee Lung Tham, faced a clash of culture and management styles when his mainland Chinese client threatened to fire the American interim manager that Tham had assigned. The client, Wong Lung, ran a family-owned garment manufacturing business along with his younger brother, as well as his two overseas-educated children. While Wong needed the American manager's technology expertise, his own brother and his team of middle managers were showing resistance to the new changes. Meanwhile, the American manager found himself caught in the web of family and company politics, and completing his assignment without the cooperation of the middle management was impossible. How should Tham approach the conflict and bring all sides into a productive working relationship?

Keywords: China; family business; Cross-cultural Management; Management Style; Conflict Management; Family Business; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Service Industry; China;

Citation:

Chua, Roy Y.J., and Dawn H. Lau. "Transitions Asia: Managing Across Cultures." Harvard Business School Case 413-099, April 2013. (Revised April 2014.)